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It's all about the cap

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Dave from Saint Marys, GA:
I thought your feature on TV at the end of the pregame Saturday was hilarious. That's good television. And thank you for your comment in "Under the Spotlight," regarding Brackens' positive accomplishments in Jax. I realize the decision this coaching staff must make at defensive end, but do you think Brackens can still play in the NFL (somewhere) at a high level? Is he just not a good fit in Jax right now, or is he trying to extend a career that is really over?

Vic: If Tony Brackens is a good fit anywhere, it's in Jacksonville, where he's a special player because of his past accomplishments. Anywhere else, he's just another guy. As far as Brackens' future is concerned, there are two issues: 1. Will his body allow him to play? 2. Is he willing to play for minimum wage? No team is going to pay him the kind of money to which he has become accustomed. They'll give him a shot, but not at any financial risk to the team. It becomes a matter of how badly he wants to play. We'll find out.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I must say that I truly love some of your sarcastic answers to some of the questions you receive. It brings a smile to my face every time and puts me in a better mood. My question is, you answered a question about the number of wide receivers we may keep, but what about running back and linebacker? It seems we have a lot of depth and talent at both positions. How many of each, in your opinion, will make the final cut?

Vic: I answered your question to a degree last week when I said it's likely the Jaguars will find a place on the roster for an extra player at a position where the team is especially talented. Every coach wants to keep his best players, though he is restricted by the numbers each position demands. Running back and linebacker are positions of strength for the Jaguars, and the numbers may swell a bit at those two positions, but they are also greatly aided by versatility. David Allen is a third-down back who has distinct kick-return skills. Akin Ayodele and Jorge Cordova will play some defensive end. Last year, the Jaguars kept five backs (including fullback) and five linebackers. Given the talent and versatility at those two positions this year, I could see their ranks grow by one player at each position.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL:
Can the quarterback go in motion? I was wondering if the QB would be allowed to make a direct right-hand turn and start walking to the sideline. The opposing team would think he is going for a timeout and that the play is over. Hike the ball directly to the running back. Instant touchdown! What do you think?

Vic: Where have you been? Don't you remember the Kordell Stewart play of a few years ago? Stewart acted as though there was confusion in communicating the play from the sideline. He started walking toward the sideline with his arms spread, as if he didn't know what to do. All of a sudden, the ball was snapped directly to Jerome Bettis, who then ran forward. The Steelers did it over and over and it always worked. Amazing! What's the trick? The ball is hiked back and then it's run forward. It's a simple dive play that is counting on the defense buying into the quarterback's antics. Mike Mularkey was the Steelers offensive coordinator back then, and his "bag" was always full of tricks. What those trick plays did was make it very difficult for defensive coordinators to prepare for the Steelers. You had to prepare for the tricks, which meant you were spending less time preparing for what the Steelers really wanted to do: Run the ball right at you. Mularkey is now the Bills' head coach and he's filling his "bag" for the season-opener against the Jaguars.

Jerry from Jacksonville:
Two thumbs up on! Good assessment on the draft class. Which undrafted rookies are making an impact in camp?

Vic: Matt Cherry, Brian Jones, Rich Alexis and David Richardson got off to fast starts. Recently, another undrafted guy has started to interest me. Allen Suber is a smallish wide receiver who is making the transition from quarterback at Bethune-Cookman. He has some speed, some slash capability and the athletic ability to be used in cutesy roles. He may be another practice squad candidate.

Bryan from Boynton Beach, FL:
Will you be posting pictures from all "Ask Vic" convention events on for those of us who could not attend this year? Hope it's a great success.

Vic: We'll tee it up tomorrow. We'll have pictures.

Seth Palansky from New York, NY:
NFL Network has signed a deal with Comcast and the Jacksonville system is now up and running. Jags fans can watch "Inside Training Camp: Jaguars Summer" on Wednesday at nine p.m. on Comcast Channel 412. The local Comcast system in Jacksonville, Kevin Grant and company, deserve great credit for getting this channel up and running for this week and going forward.

Vic: I had no doubt an agreement would be reached.

Duane from Jacksonville:
Why do the Jags keep drafting a kicker every year and not give the kid a chance to develop? I know there's a huge monetary difference between quarterback and kicker, but why do teams develop a quarterback and not a kicker? You see it all the time; a young quarterback constantly struggling for a couple of losing seasons, yet, for a kicker it's one season and you're out.

Vic: You answered your own question. The money paid young kickers makes them disposable. If you had handed a kicker a $12 million signing bonus, as you had with the quarterback, you'd be keeping the kicker around, too. The Raiders kept Sebastian Janikowski around, didn't they? Janikowski had a terrible rookie season in 2000. He converted only 68 percent of his field goal attempts and was a very unimpressive nine of 18 from 40 yards and longer. But Janikowski was a first-round pick in whom the Raiders had invested considerable money, and they had no choice but to stick with him. The following season, Janikowski converted 82 percent of his kicks, and last year he hit on 88 percent. Player development is critical, but this is the salary cap era and the salary cap is, without a doubt, the driving force in nearly every decision teams make. Janikowski is proof of that. Had he been an undrafted guy, he may have been cut.

Newt from Jacksonville:
The official depth chart will be released during training camp. That is the statement on the depth chart page. Any closer time frame of when this will be posted?

Vic: We'll post it as soon as Jack Del Rio announces it. What's the rush? How can the coach announce a depth chart when he has yet to determine where his players fit on that depth chart? For example, if Del Rio provided a depth chart today, I'd bet Tony Brackens would be number one at left defensive end, out of respect for Brackens' veteran standing on this team. But would that be accurate? Brackens has only participated in a couple of practices and his future with the team is clearly in doubt. I'm having difficult understanding this mania for a depth chart in the middle of August. If you want to know what the competition looks like at a particular position, ask me and I'll give you my opinion.

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